Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pallet tool shed

I needed storage space for all of my garden tools but am not ready to build a large shed. I heard people talking about making houses and other structures with pallets so I thought I would try to make a small shed with them.
Now it's not anything great but it will keep my garden tools and stuff out of the element for the winter. I don't imagine it will last more than a few year but that's fine. I'm only looking for a few years to save up enough money and salvaged materials to build a larger more stable one.

Pallets can be obtained from just about any company that gets large shipments. I got mine from the tile store in the city (and a couple from work). Check your hardware stores or home improvement stores the always have pallets. Please ask before taking, some of the stores return their pallets for money.

 Pallets come in different size so I waited until after I got my pallets tofigured out what the shed was going to look like. I decided on one that is 2 pallets wide, 1 deep, and 1 high.

I screwed the 2 base pallets together and leveled them with some brick pieces that I had left over from the retaining wall we built a few years ago.

I then added the sides and back. I used shorter ones for the back because I wanted the top to slope a bit so rain could run off. 

I then cut the sides at an angle (I didn't get a picture of this. I was in a grove and forget to stop for the picture) and added supports for the top. 

I added plywood all around. I did have to buy this but I got it really cheap. I bought discounted sheets that had defects from Home Depot. Something that most people don't know is if you ask them for the defective ones they will sell them at a discount if they have any. I paid $18 for 4 sheets that were originally $9 each. Not bad. 

I then put the roof on. I bought an open bundle of shingle for half off. About $15. 

And here it is ready for some paint.
It has rained here for a week so the painting is on hold. I wanted to put cedar shingles on the sides but they were too expensive and I could not find any recycled ones. I am still on the look out so maybe in the spring.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Homemade caramel from a can of sweetened condensed milk

Ok so I saw this on Pinterest and wanted to try it myself.

Making caramel from a can of sweetened condensed milk. All you have to do is cook an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot of water on the stove and it will turn into caramel.

This is what I did.

I got a can from my food storage ( mental note: replace can in food storage).

Take the label off and put in a pot of water ( the pot I used had some discoloring when it was done. I think from the 2 metals reacting with each other ). 
Make sure it is covered with water the whole time or it may explode.

Let it come to a boil and boil for 2 hours.

Let it cool and open it. 


 I put it in a container and put in my fridge. I think I will have ice cream sundays tonight after dinner.

The Garden Plan

I have been working on my garden plan all summer. My plan is simple and ever changing but I wanted to share it anyway. The beds that are highlighted are already built, some still need to be filled and I started on the pallet shed. It is actually almost done. I also have collected the materials for the fence on the bottom of the sheet just haven't had the time to build it yet.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Canning Applesauce

I want apple trees in our mini orchard and plan to plant some next spring, until then I foraged for apple to make applesauce. There are a couple of trees in our city park that I eyeballed last year and called the city parks department to make sure I could pick from them. (Always check with the land owner before picking or harvesting) They gave me the ok so I set out to picking.

I only picked what I know I will use. When foraging leave some for others, it's the polite thing to do.
Now they are not the prettiest apples but they are free and will make some great applesauce.

All I do is peel and core them, slice them and put them in a large sauce pot with a little water. Just enough to keep the bottom of the pot from drying out until the apples start to break down.
Add a little lemon juice to prevent browning (about a Tbsp). 
Add sugar to taste. 
I add about a half a cup to help with the cooking process. A little sugar pulls the juices out of the apples. I then wait until the apples are cooked down to add more sugar and taste it to get it to the sweetness that I like.
You can use a hand mixer to make it smooth or leave it chunky. I like mine chunky.

 Then can them in a water bath canner for 20 minute for pint jars.
You can get instructions here